Fred Young 0000-00-00 00:00:00
Forest City Gear supplies highprecision gear work,” said Fred Young, CEO of Forest City Gear. “These include products for various defense sector contractors, NASA (all actuators for scientific arms and wheel drives on the Mars Rover program’s next effort, Curiosity), the winch gears on the winning entry in the last America’s Cup, gears on every car in the starting field at Indy and more. We even export gears to China and other countries where that’s not supposed to happen, right? I don’t say these things to boast, but only to demonstrate what a company can achieve when it remembers to bring its best game to every competition. Like the great sports teams of the past and present, our company puts its very best effort into every project we tackle, not just the high-margin ones, the glamorous ones or the ones where we get press coverage. This philosophy has served us well, since my parents started our company in 1955. “Today, a tour of Forest City Gear reveals some things you can see, such as all the new technology for gearmaking, our state-of-the-art production department and our quality lab, where I’d stack our people and equipment up against any gear manufacturer on the planet for comparison.Again, not a brag, but a further demonstration of what we sincerely believe is necessary for ANY company to succeed in today’s highly competitive environment. The fact that over 20% of our customers are other gear companies is no accident. Rather, it is the result of our commitment to manufacture absolutely the finest quality products in the industry, coupled with the ability to prove out that quality in a lab that’s the envy of the gear industry, as well as the very latest machine tool technology to do things our peers in the industry cannot. “There’s a notion going around these days called re-shoring and it makes the case that American manufacturers can regain lost business by talking about total cost of ownership, trade regulations and other ethereal concepts. Let’s be direct about it, offshore competition will always remain a serious option for any customer who doesn’t understand that quality components make the best end product. When your company’s products are better, as that guy who talked about the mouse trap, people will beat a path to your door. Forest City Gear is by no means the largest gear manufacturer in the world and, while we do a good job of advertising and promoting our capabilities in the trade media, our reputation wouldn’t sustain, if we didn’t deliver everything we promise in those ads. “Quality doesn’t result from wishing and hoping for it; rather, it results from people willing to put their money where their heart is and, in our case, that’s the gear business. We don’t buy the latest machine tools and metrology because it’s fashionable or fun, though sometimes my wife (company President Wendy Young) thinks I’m just nuts enough to do that.Quite the opposite, it’s because Forest City Gear maintains its reputation as a high-quality gear manufacturer, with a penchant for the tough, demanding applications, precisely because we have capability few can match and we deliver on our promises to customers. An old-fashioned, but completely refreshing idea, if you ask me. “We invest a lot of money into new equipment, that’s true. We’re also one of the country’s top sellers of used gearmaking equipment and that’s also true. That’s one of many reasons we can continue to invest. Beyond the machinery and testing facilities, however, we invest in our most important asset, our people. We have an ongoing educational program, so employees can constantly increase their knowledge about the business. Plus, we engage our machine and equipment suppliers on a regular basis to tap into their expertise, because we know they contact the top gear manufacturers in the world and this knowledge transfer and cross-pollinization of technology will make our company better.Likewise, when you tour our shop, you won’t notice it, but there’s a constant transmission of the ‘tribal’ knowledge we’ve acquired over our 56 years in business that’s pure gold. Better said, it’s pure particle accelerator power, because as it passes from one generation to the next, it increases in its focus and energy. Too many companies rely on the machine tool’s CNC to get the work done, rather than that one computer that can still outperform anything in the world, the human brain and its capability to analyze and adapt. If our company didn’t invest in those ‘machines,’ we’d quickly fall behind. “Thus, while we push our leadingedge machine tools to the limit of their capabilities in making gears, we also push our people to advance the technology at Forest City Gear through their own individual effort, imagination and talent. This isn’t rah-rah talk, this is business, folks, and it pays off. “Likewise, we send our people to the AGMA (American Gear Manufacturers Association) gear school, where, as I like to say, they don’t learn how to pick the brand of car, but rather they learn to drive. I had a little part in starting that school, so it has a special place in my heart, by the way. Many others in the industry did, as well, and that brings me to another worthwhile point.The old saying about a rising tide raising all boats is really true. American manufacturers will succeed and prosper if they work together to build their respective industries. I’m aware of several current coalitions, where metal stampers, as an example, got together to increase their product knowledge, provide disaster relief to each other and, believe it or not, share information about their respective companies’ inner workings, all to the betterment of the industry overall. “Gear manufacturers and others who compete with off-shore companies are not at a disadvantage, as some would have you believe. At least they’re not, if they remember the things that made them successful in the first place.Having better equipment and better people than the other guys, plus utilizing all available engineering support from vendors, industry associations and others in the business who can help, will all accomplish the goal every company must have to succeed. That goal is simply to produce a better product than the other guys, every time, with no compromise on quality or service. “I’ll close with a little story. We had an instance where we were encountering small errors in gear inspection. A simple adjustment involving an AA hob vs. a B hob, at about $75 in cost, made all the difference. On small gear tooth count, we were able to eliminate the error with a relatively simple tool adjustment on the circular pitch. As a collateral benefit, we were able to institute a new procedure at our company that reduced gear grinding time. Just a little thing, seemingly, but those little things make a big difference, when you’re always looking for ways to gain an advantage. Call me for more details, be happy to help. “In the end, what makes our company different is a lot you do see and lot more you don’t. But, as anyone in the business who knows me knows, all you need to do is ask.” For more information contact: Fred Young, CEO Forest City Gear Co., Inc. 11715 Main Street Roscoe, IL 61073-0080 815-623-2168 email@example.com www.forestcitygear.com
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